Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.
FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by this hazard. The warm weather is increasing the potential for icefall to occur in the ravine. There is still a lot of ice hanging on the cliffs in the Sluice and headwall. Minimize the time you spend in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. Remember, Lunch Rocks is not a safe place to sit due to its position in the fall line of ice from both of these locations.
CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These have become a serious threat in the Lip and Center Bowl. Breaking through a weak snow bridge into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend. Be knowledgeable about where they are and keep clear of these areas.
UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, we are starting to see this problem emerge. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface. Hillman’s Highway has some undermined snow and open holes in the lower portion.
The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall holes. It is highly recommended that you avoid this area entirely. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We expect to be closing this area and this section of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail through the ravine very soon. This is an annual closure due to the unique hazards posed to hikers and skiers. When the closure happens, we will let you know through signage and in the advisory.
The Sherburne is still open from the top to the #7 crossover, just under a mile downhill. There are several melted out sections that require walking. If you’ve already taken off your ski boots, it will probably by quicker to just walk down the hiking trail.
The Lion Head summer trail is now open. There is a lot of snow still on this trail, including some steep snow traverses just below treeline. The potential for a long fall exists in this area, especially when the trail is frozen such as late afternoons or early in the morning.
Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters.
Posted at 7:45 a.m., May 5, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.
Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856